About Ignitum

To be a little more technical, “ignio” means “I ignite,” but when you memorize Latin verbs you memorize the first-person-singular-present-active-indicative form. (If you’ve studied Spanish – Latin verbs conjugate like Spanish verbs.) People who have studied Latin will understand and people who haven’t, won’t notice or care.

Q. How do you pronounce “ignitum”?

A. Well, you have some options. The Romans would have said ig-NEE-toom. In church, we’d say “in-YEE-toom.” Why?  In medieval times, things got mushed around a little, and the Latin we use in church is essentially medieval Latin. In church Latin, the “gn” is pronounced like “ny” – think “Agnus Dei.” Cicero would have said “ag-nus” (hence the name Agnes), but Thomas Aquinas would have said “an-yus.” (Think “lasagna.”)

Q. What does “ignitum” mean?

A. Short story: “ignited” or “set on fire.” Long story?

“Ignitum” is a participle – a verb that’s been turned into an adjective. English does this to a limited degree. Take the verb “to break.” You can say “I broke the chair,” then “the chair was broken,” then “I tripped over the broken chair.” English can’t do this with every verb (we can talk about half-eaten food, but not eaten food, or done laundry, or sung music, or a written paper, but we can talk about the food that was eaten, the laundry that was done, the music that was sung, or the paper that was written) but Latin does it all the time with every verb.

The verb is “ignio” which means “to set on fire” or “to ignite.” Ignitum is the participle, and it means “ignited” or “(having been) set on fire.”


If you have anything to add, let us know. Thank you Mary C. Tillotson for the information.

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